The Dewan Rakyat yesterday passed the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill 2020 aimed at improving integrity, reducing misconduct among police officers and increasing public confidence in the security force.
The bill was approved with several amendments and improvements after being tabled for the first reading on Aug 26, 2020.
Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, when winding up the debate on the bill, said there were indeed cases of deaths in lock-ups, but that these were not due to injuries caused by the police, rather illnesses faced by the detainees.
"I wish to inform you that there are (deaths in the lock-up) but it does not mean that it happened due to them (detainees) being beaten and so on,” he said.
According to Hamzah, among the diseases that the prisoners died of were asthma, HIV, heart disease, liver disease, ulcers and lung disease, while there were also cases of detainees hanging themselves and fighting in the lock-up.
Hamzah said the bill focused on the establishment of a body to carry out investigations, while disciplinary action and punishments would still lie with the Police Force Commission in accordance with the existing provisions in Article 140 of the Federal Constitution.
"This bill was drafted after comparisons were made with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (UK) and the Independent Police Complaints Council (Hong Kong).
"Both of these independent bodies only exercise powers of investigation into wrongdoing, with the findings submitted to the relevant authorities for action," he said.